Who Is Audrey Lee Cook? New Details On The Woman Who Has Been Missing Since The 1980s —​ Her Body Was Just Found

She was finally found.

Who Is Audrey Lee Cook? New Details On The Woman Who Has Been Missing Since The 1980s —​ Her Body Was Just Found League County Sheriff's Office 

There are different reactions to murder, sudden disappearance or death. If the victim in question is young, if they come from a well-to-do family, if they have lived their life on the straight and narrow, their stories tend to get more attention, not just from the media, but from their families and friends, too. Sadly that isn't the case for everyone.  There are reasons serial killers target people with drug addictions or mental health issues or sex workers. They do this because often these are the people who society has decided have no value. When Audrey Lee Cook went missing in the mid-1980s, her own family, knowing how she lived, didn't even formally report her as missing. Now, thanks to forensics, her body has finally been identified. Here's what we know about her, the crime that took her life and another's, and where the police plan on going from here. Who is Audrey Lee Cook?


1. Identifying The Bodies 

There is an oil field in Texas that is full of dark stories. It is known to many as The Killing Fields, and now, 30 years after two women's bodies were recovered from its depths, a huge breakthrough in the case has been made thanks to serious advancements in forensics like the analysis of DNA. After decades of not knowing who these women were, the police were finally able to definitely identify them and hopefully give them and any of the people they left behind, some small amount of closure. The two women were Audrey Lee Cook, from Memphis, Tennessee who was found in 1986, and Donna Prudhomme, from Port Arthur, Texas who was found in 1991.


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2. The Killing Fields 

Though their bodies were discovered decades ago, little has been known about who these two bodies belonged to until very recently. The bodies were both found in the dark oil field known as the Killing Field, which is located along Calder Road in League City, not very far from Houston.


Two bodies found in the same location a couple of years apart is definitely creepy, but the story of the Killing Fields doesn't exactly stop there. Both women's remains were found in exactly the same place where two other women were murdered and their bodies abandoned. In total, since the 1970s, at least 30 bodies have been found inside this oil field. It has more than earned its name.  

3. The Role Of Forensics 

Thankfully, with the major advances made in forensics over the last few decades, the police working the cases of these two women were able to actually identify the women! In fact, the way they were identified is pretty darn cool. Both women's likenesses were recreated using DNA phenotyping, that can accurately predict what someone looked like. It's an invaluable tool. The police also used genetic genealogy, the same tool used to capture the infamous Golden State Killer. This type of genetic testing involves identifying the relationships between people who are willing send their DNA samples to places like Ancestry or 23AndMe and unknown individuals whose DNA the authorities already possess. 

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4. The Family Trees

Using these forms of technology and forensics, the detectives working the case were gradually able to start building family trees for both women based almost solely off of genetic connections that they managed to find using their DNA. They were working on the case for over a year, since April 2018. While the entire process might sound not too different from finding a needle in a haystack, it was a method that eventually began returning real results for the detectives who were eager to solve this cold case. Using DNA samples of potential family members they were able to finally make connections for both victims. 

5. Cook's Life Before 

Tragically, Audrey Lee Cook, born in 1955, was thought to be just 30-years-old when she died. The authorities aren't sure how long she was dead before her remains wound up on the oil fields. They speculate it was anywhere from six weeks to six months before her body was recovered. Cook was believed to be a heavy user of cocaine who made money to fund her habit by also selling it. She was living in the Houston area when she died, and tragically her rough lifestyle led to a falling out with her family. As of 1985, they were not on speaking terms. Now that these women have been identified, the real work begins: finding the killer. This case is far from closed, but thanks to modern day forensics, these families finally have answers. 


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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture and news. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr